The novel Coronavirus has affected nearly every aspect of life within the past year and a half, effects that still haven’t gone away. These include changes such as online school, frequent mask wearing, and plexiglass dividers in nearly every store. The virus has heavily curbed people’s traveling, time spent exploring and shopping at small shops and stores, eating at new restaurants, and visiting new places. These restrictions, while being helpful towards stopping the spread of the virus, have been mainly harmful to small businesses. Most of these businesses have not fully recovered yet by putting up pre pandemic numbers, and are still struggling.
What are some of the small businesses’ biggest problems in surviving?
According to numerous small businesses that were interviewed by reporters, the biggest problem that they face in surviving the pandemic is their operating costs. These are costs such as food, rent, mortgage, salaries, utilities, etc… This makes sense of course; If a restaurant, lounge, bar, etc… can’t operate and bring in revenue, then they simply can’t pay off their costs on their own, they’ll need some external help. One way that they can receive help is through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Being used mostly for salaries, this program is helpful at one part of the problem, but simply cannot fix everything. Another big problem that the small businesses struggled with was communication with the government. Many of the small businesses interviewed stated that they had applied to various different programs, but the results were unclear. Sometimes the business owners had never heard back from the program, and other times the terms of the program were too confusing to understand and were constantly changing. They stated that there were very few resources available to clear up the terms and conditions in order to make progress with the aid that could have been available.
The Path for Reopening
The businesses state that the best thing that the government can do to help them get back on track is by clearly communicating the restrictions that they will have to observe during the path to normalcy again. A strategy for reopening favored by employers is to coordinate business reopenings. This coordination could be the difference between survival and failure. The reason being for this is because workers in a closed store could move to the same store, but one that is open in a neighboring town. That business would then inadvertently steal the first businesses’ customers being the only one in the area to provide that service.
What you can do to help out your local businesses
Even though reopening is the only sure way to get money for these local businesses, if business is slow and the operating costs remain the same (which they will), these businesses will once again continue to struggle. This is why it is vitally important to support the small businesses in your community and help give them sales to keep them pushing through this pandemic. Once restrictions are eventually lifted, then these businesses can continue to thrive like they were doing before, but they’ll first need your help to get there.